Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Video Of Ankole Cattle Chomping Food And Mooing—Heifer International Link

Above you see a video of an Ankole cattle. The video lasts about 25 seconds.  In the video the beast chomps on some trees and at the end makes a mooing noise.

This video was taken at the Houston Zoo. The Houston Zoo is getting better, but still has a way to go to being good enough for a city the size of Houston. When I moved to Houston 11 years ago and saw that the zoo had no admission charge, I figured that could only be bad news for the animals. The adult admission is now $10. I know that’s a lot of money, but I’m not convinced the fee is yet high enough for the good of the animals.

The zoo asserts the animals are well taken care of in captivity.

Here is information about the Ankole cattle from a breeds of livestock web page of Oklahoma State University—

The Ankole cattle are distributed from Lake Mobutu to Lake Tanganyika in eastern Africa. The original animals were thought to have been brought to northern Uganda by Hamitic tribes sometime between the 13th and 15th centuries. The Ankole’s susceptiblity to the tsetse fly forced the tribes and their cattle further south. The Hima or Bahima tribe settled on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzani. The Watusi or Tutsi tribe continued to Rwanda and Burundi withtheircattle, some of which have spread to the lake districts of Zaire. Selection in all the tribes is based on horn size. The purer Ankolecattlehave a medium-long head, a short neck with a deep dewlap and a narrow chest. …Although the small-uddered Ankole cows yield meager amounts of milk, milking is an important ritual in some tribes. Bloodletting is a common practice. A few tribes use the cattle for work, none use them for meat. In general the animals are highly prized as status symbols, for ceremonial functions and not for their productivity.

( The OSU site has very comprehensive information on breeds of cattle, pigs, sheep, horses and goats. It is well worth study.)

It’s good to know people in Africa are as dumb-assed as we are here. Keeping these big beasts as a status symbol–Don’t they have better things to do with their resources? Like the $40 I spent at the Astros’ baseball game a few nights  ago including a $7.50 beer and a $4 ice cream item.

Here is the link to Heifer International. If you donate some money to these folks, they’ll buy a useful farm animal for somebody in the world. Do you know why you and I live in a rich nation while some other person lives in a poor place? Dumb luck–That’s why.

A NY Times article from last year says the Ankole is under long-term threat. The article says that they are being cross-bred with Holsteinsin Africa because the Holsteins are of greater use. The excerpt below says that the Ankole have been bred to survive in a harsh African environment and this is why they may not be so useful.

From the article—

“…Indigenous animals like East Africa’s sinewy Ankole, the product of centuries of selection for traits adapted to harsh conditions, are struggling to compete with foreign imports bred for maximal production. This worries some scientists. The world’s food supply is increasingly dependent on a small and narrowing list of highly engineered breeds: the Holstein, the Large White pig and the Rhode Island Red and Leghorn chickens. There’s a risk that future diseases could ravage these homogeneous animal populations. Poor countries, which possess much of the world’s vanishing biodiversity, may also be discarding breeds that possess undiscovered genetic advantages. But farmers like Mugira say they can’t afford to wait for science. And so, on the African savanna, a competition for survival is underway.”

I guess necessity makes people forget about ornamental and status items all over the world.

April 21, 2009 - Posted by | Houston | , , , , , , , ,


  1. Your point about admission fees to the Houston Zoo is well taken. But I have another point for you to ponder. I have been visiting the Houston Zoo since I was a little kid. I have many vivid memories of me, my sister and a lot of neighborhood playmates roaming around and being totally entertained by animals we only read about in geography and science books. We always rode the train, and had a picnic as well. I am still fascinated. Sometimes I go alone and spend the day. It is relaxing being outside, while experiencing the sights and smells of the exotic. It’s almost like being in distant lands.

    However, with the continued increase in admission fees, more and more families will not be able to enjoy it as we did. Sadly, if there is a conflict in how money will be spent, more would opt for the Astros, IMHO. When the zoo was free, it was one thing all kids could experience. And an educational, positive and memorable time it was. I realize the zoo does have several free admission days, and I am pleased by that. It is a shame that that donations alone aren’t enough to keep it maintained. But that is just not the world we live in . . .

    Comment by Peggy | April 21, 2009

  2. Peggy—I’d simply have to say that the bottom line is the welfare of the animals since they have no choice about being in the zoo. Whatever that costs is the correct about of money for the zoo to raise with donations or admission fees.

    Thanks for your comment.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | April 22, 2009

  3. Thank you for again demonstrating the “ugly American” principle at work. Having worked in Africa for the past several years and personally experienced the culture you so wonderfully describe as being “dumb-assed African” prizing these animals as status-symbols (a poor choice of words really). We measure wealth by what… pieces of paper that only has value because some bureaucrat bean-counter in Washington and equally worthless human beings says it has value? Give me a break!

    Comment by Eric Ceaser | June 17, 2010

  4. Eric–You are a self-righteous and self-important gasbag. It’s clear enough I’m taking shots at how we live here and at myself in the post. The post is clear enough in it’s meaning. Except for you because you have a notion of what people are and that’s all you were looking for here. If you like Africa so much— Then why don’t you move to the North Pole because I wager the people in Africa found you to be a pain in the ass as well.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | June 17, 2010

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